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Construction of new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland ahead of schedule

The new Smithland Bridge under construction.
The new Smithland Bridge under construction.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials say construction of the new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland in Livingston County is running ahead of schedule. Jim Smith Contracting of Grand Rivers is the prime contractor on the $63.6 million project to erect the new 1,912 ft. structure immediately downstream from the existing bridge.

According to a KYTC release, the existing U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland – also known as the Lucy Jefferson Lewis Memorial Bridge and the Smithland Bridge – is 1,817 feet long and was opened to traffic in 1931. The KYTC is hoping to replace it with a bridge that works better for modern modes of transportation.

Starting May 19, the contractor will resume roadway work at the U.S. 60/KY 70 intersection on the south approach. There will also be another concrete pour on the main pier on the north bank of the river. The contractor and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers have established an updated work schedule for the project, with a target completion date of December 1, 2023.

KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat said while there were some delays due to flood waters during the fall and winter, the project appears to be approximately two months ahead of schedule.

“The project is progressing at a great pace with the recent completion of the south main pier and placement of beams this week for span 3 on the south approach,” Poat said in a release. “The contractor has scheduled another concrete pour on the north main pier for Monday – the final pier remaining to be completed.”

The 700 feet steel truss for the main span is nearing completion and is being painted at the Paducah Riverport where it was assembled.

“The schedule calls for the truss to be completed and floated to the bridge site sometime in September, where it will then be jacked into place on the piers,” Poat said. “We anticipate that it will take about six to eight months to pour a concrete deck on the main span to prepare it for traffic in late spring of 2023.”

The release states the new bridge will be a critical connection for local Livingston County traffic. The Cumberland River splits the county, and the bridge is the only direct link for local commuters, commerce, school buses, and emergency responders.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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